Microlearning is the not-so-new, but increasingly popular learning technique taking educators and employers by storm. As the name implies, microlearning breaks complicated information down into easily digestible modules. These bite-sized information packets are highly targeted lessons that are easier to understand and therefore, easier to retain and remember later.
As a subset of eLearning, microlearning has seen enormous growth in recent years, which has coincided with the rise of smartphones and handheld devices. With the increasingly remote nature of education and work, academic institutions and employers have increasingly turned to online learning platforms to help train employees and teach students. According to Forbes, in 2017, 87 per cent of higher education institutions in Canada and the U.S. reported using some form of eLearning platform. And according to a market analysis by Global Industry Analysts, Inc, 77 per cent of American companies have already used online learning to train their workforce.
The major advantage of microlearning over conventional online training platforms is that microlearning is straight to the point and delivers the necessary information to your target audience in a fun and engaging manner. It’s an effective way of making sure that your audience not only learns what you want them to but retains that information, which can greatly impact the bottom line of your business. But, as with all things, new training platforms cost time and money. So how can you simplify incorporating microlearning into your already existing training platform?
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything is designed to be taught using the microlearning method, but it is well-suited for training and other snippets of knowledge. It is also incredibly versatile, and can even be combined with gamification, spaced repetition, and mobile learning.
Since most schools and businesses already have some sort of online training platform in place, this means that the bedrock for microlearning has already been laid out. Instead of building a whole new experience from scratch, employers and school administrators can instead lean on the content they already have in place and adapt it to be better suited to microlearning.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking of adapting your current training platform to one that supports microlearning.
Cut the fluff
Microlearning is effective because it is simple, specific, and to the point. It works by circumventing the brain’s tendency to overwrite memories by focusing on the key elements of any subject area. There’s no time wasted with ancillary knowledge or context that will not be immediately useful.
When thinking of switching to a microlearning approach to online learning, cut the fluff and strip the information down to the concrete facts your audience absolutely needs to know. If it isn’t useful, cut it. Platforms that support microlearning are built with specific purposes in mind and with specific outcomes as goals. If your audience is already using the platform, it’s because there is a precise thing they want to practice or learn. So be effective and give it to them without any distractions or unwarranted context.
Start with a hook, end with a call to action
Although microlearning platforms are better suited to straight-to-the-point information, with all extra fat trimmed (as per the point above), it’s also important to get people interested in the content and invested in the module you want them to learn. You can do this by ‘hooking’ your audience emotionally, thus investing them in what they are learning. A great way to do this is by incorporating stories that resonate with your audience. Humans have been telling stories for millennia, it’s in our DNA. People are much more likely to positively respond to information structured around a story than to dry information.
Hooking your audience emotionally is a good way to get your participants involved. But by including a call to action at the end of the module, you’ll be ending the module on an action-oriented note. This method of framing their experience both at the start and stop of each module ensures that the information is more likely to stay with them long after they’ve completed the module. Call to actions don’t have to be complicated – they act as a real-life scenario for the theory explored in the lesson, such as going over the specs for a new product of emailing a direct report with some positive feedback.
Make sure the method matches the content
When adapting your existing online platform to one that supports microlearning, it’s important to consider the ‘packaging’ in addition to the content, and make sure they match and work with one another. Microlearning is effective because it is simple, easily accessible and to the point. But if your microlearning platform is difficult to use, not optimized for mobile, or not engaging, you’ll be losing your audience very quickly. If you’re putting the effort into altering your platform, then make sure that the platform matches as well. If the experience isn’t streamlined, then people will not engage.
It can be tempting to try and cram as much information into a module as possible. But in order for microlearning to be effective, it’s important to resist the temptation. The strength of the microlearning platform lies with its method: taking big-picture theories and subjects, then breaking them into bite-sized chunks for ease of comprehension. It’s best to identify one single learning objective at a time and build a microlearning module around it. By focusing on fewer topics, what you’ve learned has a greater likelihood of being retained and stored in the brain’s long-term memory.
Learning is more effective when it’s fun
People are more likely to retain information that they learned if they are engaged with the content. By incorporating elements of gamification into your microlearning platform, you’ll engage your audience through play and increase the likelihood of them continuing to participate, while also encouraging engagement and positive feelings towards the platform and the experience. Give your participants a sense of accomplishment by having in-game features they can unlock or badges they can earn.
Are you interested in adapting your existing training platform to one that supports microlearning? Visit EdApp today to see how they can help. EdApp’s multi-award-winning mobile app is the new standard in eLearning and offers support for microlearning, mobile learning, spaced repetition and gamification.